“HOW DO I GET CLIENTS” is hands-down the most common question for anyone starting a business.
You might have a website, social media profiles set up, an idea of what you want to do… but without clients, you only have a hobby.
Clients are what help you pay the bills, grow your business, and ultimately, make your business come to life. Cashflow is the life that makes your business breathe. Anyone who has ever had a business that doesn’t bring in money knows how stressful and draining that feeling can be.
If you’re selling a product, some of this will still apply to you, just take the loose principles and use them on what you’re selling.
(I’ll write something down the line about attracting only high-paying clients, but that’s more about positioning and branding than getting clients.)
If you aren’t in sales, a pipeline is basically a process where you take leads, filter them through, and then some of them become clients.
If you’ve ever worked at a company these usually involve pretty graphs on Powerpoint slides that take way too long to make and some guy named Chad in a blazer yelling “SYNERGY! ALWAYS BE CLOSING! HUSTLE!” over and over.
In it’s simplest form, filling your client pipeline is just about putting your offer in front of people who would use it.
Sometimes, it can be a process that takes time (such as getting people on your email list and over the course of months build trust and rapport), or sometimes it’s a matter of offering your services right there and then to someone you meet.
Either way, these steps will help you get started when it comes to getting more clients in your pipeline.
1. Clarify your offer.
This is the #1 problem I see on websites: people are not clear about what problems they solve and how they solve them.
Do you know what does this really well? Bestselling self-help books. Let’s look at these two examples:
They’re clear on exactly what you’re getting out of these books.
However, with most people’s sites, they are vague and wishy-washy on what they actually offer and how they solve problems.
“Get in shape”
“Understand your data”
That all sounds nice, but people don’t want vague solutions to their specific problems.
If you want to narrow this down, answer these questions:
When people work with you, what process do you walk them through?
How do clients feel after working with you?
What three major problems do you solve for people?
Once you answer these, you’ll be able to improve your first interaction with potential clients, whether it’s on your website or in person.
2. Make sure you’re talking to the right people.
I’ve said it a full times on this blog, but it’s so important to actually get in front of people who would hire you. As a writer, I spend about 2% of my time talking to other writers.
Another writer isn’t going to hire me, why would they need to?
Logically it makes sense but look at so many networking events. They’re full of people in the same industry who are doing the same thing. Sure, it’s great to have friends who do what you do so you can have someone who understands your wins and struggles, but they’re not your clients.
As a copywriter, I spend time talking with business owners. They’re the ones who would hire me.
Look at your last few messages. Were they with potential clients? If not, it’s time to switch it up. The same rules apply for social media: make sure you’re on the sites your clients are and talking to them on a consistent basis.
3. Provide consistent value.
One of the hardest parts about starting a business is needing to do a lot of upfront work and needing to prove your value.
Once you’re established, you don’t need to do so much upfront work because your reputation and network will spread that message on its own. However, if you’re new, you have an uphill battle to start.
Value comes in a lot of different forms: free content, daily social media posts, throwing in extra offers for new clients, giving freebies/samples… It’s not always fun, but it’s what’s required for you to build that trust with people.
4. Contribute to forums.
I’m a huge fan of internet forums, especially Reddit. I can credit Reddit (heh, rhyming) with at least 40% of my work through the years. I work hard to be involved in subreddits where my clients hang out (small business forums, people looking for writers, entrepreneurship, etc).
Yes, this is time-consuming.
Yes, you’ll need to wade through a lot of crap to get to the gems.
Yes, most of your effort won’t turn into money.
However, if you want to make more money and attract clients, there’s no other way around it. If you’re stressing about your finances, stop. Take a deep breath. Trust in this process.
Every single time I’ve had the rug pulled out from me (clients shutting down their business and their money, hiring someone else, people going MIA), there’s some panic time in there, but then I get right back to this process.
5. Learn the basics of website SEO.
Look, I get it. Website stuff is hard to understand and you don’t even want to think about it. (Unless you’re good at it then please teach me everything thank you.)
With that being said, I wish I had learned some basics about SEO, organic traffic, and keywords much earlier on. You don’t need a complicated website, but even a basic one will help.
6. Get in touch with people who can give you a platform.
With the rising popularity of things like podcasts, guest posts, and YouTube channels, there are countless people out there looking for interesting people to interview.
Of course, don’t expect to get on Tim Ferriss’ show right away, but there are still a lot of options!
7. Address objections as soon as possible.
Most people will have mental scripts as to why they aren’t ready to buy.
Maybe they don’t understand your pricing, maybe they don’t trust you (yet), maybe they aren’t sure you’re the right person to work with. There are a lot of possibilities that you need to know so you can move them through your sales funnel faster.
8. Network (the smart way)
Growthlab has the best explanation on how you should send emails to connect with people: read it here.
If you can’t find a good event that has the type of people you want to meet, then host one.
You don’t even need to implement all of these, even just executing on one of them will start to fill the pipeline so you can start getting paid. (Cue Cardi B’s Money song.)